Summer 2009 graduate DeRick O’Connell was recently named the strength and conditioning intern for the University of Minnesota.
DeRick will work with the men’s and women’s Olympic sports under the guidance of strength coaches Sara Wiley and Cal Dietz. Sara Wiley was the 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year and Cal Dietz is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences and is also the owner of XLathlete.com. Both coaches have been tremendously successful with the athletic teams, coaching All-Americans, Olympians, National Champions, and Big 10 Champions.
“I knew that the strength and conditioning coaches at the University of Minnesota would provide the best environment for me to gain knowledge,” said DeRick.
In preparation for this opportunity, DeRick spent two summers working at Wayzata High School with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Johnson. This proved to be an invaluable experience, as Coach Johnson is one of the most well-respected high school strength coaches in Minnesota. At the summer camp, DeRick learned how to teach a variety of different athletes with varying ability levels. Working with hundreds of kids, DeRick also developed valuable organizational skills. This experience also demonstrated his commitment to this field.
“What really stood out about DeRick, was the fact that he pursued the relevant education and then augmented that with high-level experiences in the field. His willingness to seek out the best individuals and do a great job for those individuals made our decision to hire DeRick easy,” said Sara Wiley. “We are really looking forward to his contributions and feel that he is going to do an outstanding job for the Golden Gophers.”